Enjoying the Journey and Living it Up: 41 Lessons and Counting

Birthday Reflections by Natalie Ruiz

Natalie Ruiz
3 min readFeb 29, 2024
You’d best believe: I made a wish!

Birthdays always make me extra contemplative, and after celebrating the big 41 this week, I considered how much I continue to learn about life and felt grateful for this journey. I also decided to share 41 learnings in honor of my 41st trip around the sun!

In no particular order, here’s what’s on my mind and in my heart:

  1. Forgive! Holding onto grudges only weighs you down. Learn to forgive yourself and others for past mistakes and transgressions. Forgiveness liberates your spirit and allows you to move forward with clarity and peace of mind.
  2. True strength lies in vulnerability. Don’t be afraid to show your authentic self and share your emotions with trusted individuals. Vulnerability creates deep connections and helps us grow.
  3. You must love yourself before you can love anyone else correctly. Self-love and acceptance are the foundation for all of the good you deserve.
  4. Everyone makes mistakes. The key is not to make the same ones over and over again.
  5. Time is precious. Stop wasting it.
  6. Energy, karma, and manifestation are real. Be intentional.
  7. You will never regret doing the right thing.
  8. Don’t be a jerk. It is never worth it.
  9. Set boundaries that work for you.
  10. You don’t owe anyone anything.
  11. You are your own best investment with the most significant ROI.
  12. You move differently when you’re happy.
  13. Gratitude helps the good in your life multiply.
  14. Time and space reveal a lot. Be patient.
  15. Treasure your friends.
  16. Tell people you love them. A lot!
  17. Take pictures of everything.
  18. Keep a journal.
  19. Don’t overshare on the internet.
  20. Unfortunately, not everyone is rooting for you, which has more to do with them than with you. Wish them well and keep moving forward.
  21. Trust your instincts/gut/intuition. You know more than you think you do.
  22. The things that made me feel othered and outcasted earlier in life are now the source of some of my power and creativity. Homogeneity leads to mediocrity. Be you.
  23. There’s a lot of power in telling our stories and speaking our truth.
  24. Move through fear. What we want is often on the other side.
  25. I always have room in my life for more powerful women.
  26. Nothing brings me more joy than helping someone achieve their goals and win.
  27. It is not too late, and I am not too old.
  28. As Maya Angelou said, “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”
  29. Things usually work out when you do the right things for the right reasons.
  30. Surrounding yourself with the right people can change your life.
  31. You’ll never regret getting some exercise.
  32. There is so much more out there than you think — more love, happiness, success, joy, security, fulfillment — so much more.
  33. Always be good to people.
  34. Look for ways to be generous.
  35. Drink more water!
  36. Yes, we need to wear sunscreen!
  37. Do not shrink to make anyone more comfortable.
  38. Never miss a chance to put your toes in the ocean or stare at the moon.
  39. Be grateful for the small moments. They turn into big memories.
  40. Give great hugs.
  41. Be proud of how far you’ve come and excited for where you haven’t been yet.

I love this phrase of life, and I am excited about what is still yet to come. Thank you for being part of my adventure. Cheers to growing older and wiser while having a blast.

With love and gratitude,

🌸 I hope you enjoyed this!

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Natalie Ruiz

Tech CEO. Mom. Non-Profit Board Member. Working to normalize belonging at work. Living in gratitude. Trying to leave people and places better than I find them.